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BLESSING IN DISGUISE

THE death and subsequent burial of First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda has brought out both positive and negative aspects.

Riding on the positives, it is worth noting that the episode drowned tension and political bickering as well as violence.

The sing-song was unity and love for one another irrespective of tribe and political affiliation, which attributes must be maintained even after the burial of the great statesman.

Viewed as the crescendo of all this, was the interaction between arch-rivals President Edgar Lungu and United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema at the Embassy Park soon after burial.

Brief as it may have been, the interaction resonated well with the incessant calls for unity and political tolerance across party lines.

Therefore, even after the mourning period, Zambians across tribes and political lines must embrace unity and love for one another as state power is just an instrument through which to provide leadership and to spur development.

The race for state power must never breed unfathomable animosity, but must be viewed as simply a process towards a fair installation of leadership for the country.

As Colonel Panji Kaunda observed, the death of his father, who would have wished to clock 100 years, was divine in that God designed it to happen at the height of the political campaigns and worked successfully to calm the country and eliminated violence altogether.

One would shudder to imagine what would have been the political temperature had it not been for the national mourning!

Prior to Dr Kaunda’s death, the country was immersed in unpleasant tribal sentiments and political violence.

There was unending accusations and counteraccusations that crowded out practical and issue-based development discourse.

Political campaigns were devoid of inspiring messages as most politicians focused on attacking the persona of their opponents rather than bringing out real issues affecting the people.

In particular, the PF and the UPND were at each other’s throats!

Surprisingly, many politicians did not attempt to expound the contents of their manifestos and a few that did, merely glossed over cardinal points.

It is hoped that politicians will henceforth expend much of their energy on illustrating how the yawning potential in agriculture and tourism can fully be exploited.

Malawi, a small country and only the size of one province in Zambia has been flourishing on agriculture on a better slate than this country which has vast arable land and abundant water resources.

In tourism, Botswana has managed to nurture tourism better than Zambia which boasts of a large expanses of national; parks with various species of wildlife.

Therefore, it is expected that politicians in their campaigns could highlight the best way of re-developing the two critical sectors of the economy, bearing in mind that mining is a wasting asset.

The cardinal issues that the politicians need to bring out is how they will be able to successfully implement the economic turn-around strategy: the “how” and not ending on the “what.”

Zambians must, therefore, heed to the various calls for peace, unity and love, which reverberated across the country as the body of the founding father was being taken to provincial centres.

Such an important message must translate into action; it must not end with speeches!

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